I’ve never really been a horsey person. I’m an animal lover, for sure, just never really got into the equestrian world. But I like to think I can turn my hand to most things, and I’ve been on the back of a horse a few times over the years. (I think the last time was 20 years ago in Australia.)
So, when my friend Tara challenged me to ride her horse, called Rishkin, I took it in my stride. Then I met him – HE’S HUGE! OMG! 17.1 hands – the largest of 65 horses in the entire stables… Gulp!
Getting into the saddle was pretty straightforward, thanks to a box to step on, then it was into the school for some basic riding skills.
A big uncoordinated lump
Poor Rishkin. I felt like a great big uncoordinated lump. Tara was with us, of course, and she had him on a lead so we could practice just walking around the school. I managed that OK, but then it was time to pick up the pace a bit and this is where we quickly realised my limitations.
Trotting was hard work for poor Rishkin, on account of the fact that I just couldn’t get the correct seating position or the up/down movement right. I’d get it for a moment and then lose the rhythm again. Any ideas that Tara might have had about me working up to a canter or a gallop – there was even talk of a jump in our initial excitement! – went out the window at this point. As determined as I always am not to be beaten, I think I’d need a few more lessons just to get the trot right!
Anyway, it turns out the best (funniest) was yet to come because I then had the horror of dismounting. Hahahahaha! You have to watch the video on my social media channels to see how well that went. I can testify that 17.1 hands is a long way up!
There was no gently stepping down via the box step. On no; it was case of take your feet out of the stirrups, let go of the reins and just jump. I think I was more scared at this prospect than I was about jumping out of a plane at 15,000 feet! The whole episode was pure comedy.
But, I lived to write this blog, and Rishkin has recovered from the ordeal. It was a brilliant experience, and I’d like to give horse riding another go, now that I’ve reminded myself of what it feels like to be in the saddle. We’ll see.
Big thanks to Tara for her donation, and for facilitating this challenge. I think we both needed the glass of wine at the pub afterwards!